Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.VI | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins

Lincluden Collegiate Church | 720nm Infrared [PT.I]


Captured well over a month ago, I had to be a little creative with my angles here, as in and around the grounds of this marvellous relic (which dates back to the 12th century) a large group of very young school children were enjoying some outdoor time under glorious sunshine.  Without my even having to ask (which I wouldn’t have, anyway) but, as if they knew, I was politely granted all the privacy I needed to make my shots without any of them running into my frames. What more could I have asked for? Another one of Scotland’s ancient, tucked-away, lesser-known and beautifully preserved treasures, to which I as many others too, I am certain, would and do happily return. 

Note: Of late, I am learning to adapt my workflow with more emphasis and, whilst I have always worked towards more even exposures, staying safe and sticking to preconceived ideas and so-called rules, I have decided that I am no longer going to do this. I need to push my boundaries and see where they take me and, I do hope that my work will reflect these ideas and remains enjoyable to those of you who read my pages. It’s a process – and I’ve been stagnant for so long. 

Reflection. Evolution. Discovery.

R.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.IV | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II]


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IV | From the Parapet | 35mm | 720nm Infrared.

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V | From the Third ‘Floor’ | 21mm.

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VI | Without: Within | 21mm.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Gelston Castle [PT.I] | 720nm Infrared.


To date, no ruin has ever taken my breath away on a first encounter as much as Gelston Castle did, on this day, one month ago.  As I understand, it is not under the umbrella of any protective organisation and, stands on land now being run as holiday accommodation, in the village of Gelston, between Castle Douglas and the Palnackie to Auchencairn road. Completed around 1805, designed by Richard Crichton (a pupil of Robert Adam) Gelston Castle was built by Sir William Douglas, of Castle Douglas.  During WWII, the house was requisitioned in order to care for handicapped boys evacuated from Glasgow and, once this use had ceased, it was de-roofed, never to be inhabited again. 

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I | Rear Elevation | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Those of you who are regular readers of my pages will know that whenever the sun is out, if I am shooting beneath it, my IR cameras are the first tools I’d reach for. On this day however, conditions were unpredictable at best. This meant that I required around two to three hours to make enough images to cover my wish-list, at least, as frequent and prolonged cloud-cover tested my patience somewhat. With that said, I could have wandered around here for many more hours than I did. A beautiful monument, some of the most fabulous, fine architecture I have seen of late and, a lovely spot for just being what it is amidst stunning countryside views. 

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II | Front & Side Elevation | 35mm | 720nm | X100-IR.

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Shooting these old ruins is becoming a bit of a habit of late – one I am happy to continue to immerse myself in, I must say. When I am back on my feet, I’m going to go a-hunting again!  Though I must remain patient – another ten weeks or more, I can’t wait.

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III | Rear Elevation Between Tall Trees | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, Indoor, infrared, landscape, personal, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.I]


Okee doke, a little explanation is required here because my absence has been a little more protracted than I would have liked, of late. 

Two weekends ago, I was involved in a rather serious accident while at work and found myself admitted to hospital. Details aren’t important but I can say that I am very lucky to be alive. My injuries however, are serious enough that I am required to remain in bed and, after a week in hospital, I am now at home, in the same position, where I must stay for the foreseeable weeks ahead. 

Before I had returned to work however, during a number of beautiful days-off, I made the most of the sunshine and, with A, visited a good number of places, made an even better number of frames and, consumed regularly – copious cups of Earl Grey tea, locally made cakes and the occasional ice-cream too. With all of this noted, all of the frames I will post over the next few weeks are from the vault; a recently replenished vault, and, I am glad of it because the chance of me getting out to make photographs within the next six weeks or so, is looking so slim as to render it invisible, at least from a side-on perspective. 

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I | Drumcoltran Tower | 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Drumcoltran Tower is situated in SW Scotland between Beeswing (Bees-wing as opposed to Bee-Swing; though the latter image may be rather humorous, nonetheless)  and Kirkgunzeon (pron: kur-gun-y’n) and is integrated now into a modern farm. It’s not very well signed and until you approach the junction that leads to it, it’s not signposted at all. But it’s so worth finding. 

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II | Mother Nature as Projectionist | 21mm.

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From the outside, it looks rather uncomplicated, not all that exciting, as other structures from its era might appear, and one would be fooled into thinking that a five-minute exploration would more than enough. I was fooled, because once we entered the tower, we didn’t leave for another ninety minutes or so. Over the next four or five posts, I hope to show just why this externally (comparatively) nondescript treasure of Scotland, captured my imagination. 

It’s good to be back and, I do hope that you’ll enjoy these first few frames of and, from this early 16th century beauty.

R.

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III | Enjoying the Views [One Must Keep His Spirits Up!]| 21mm.

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Orchardton Tower | 720nm IR | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

28mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

A Once Outdated Revival?


A few miles drive from the beautiful Dundrennan Abbey, in the parish of Buittle (pron: Bittle) stands this fabulous structure, just a mile or so south of the village of Palnackie. It dates back to around 1400 AD and was built by the Cairns family who became strongly associated with this area from the early 15th century, onwards. What is special about Orchardton is that today, it is the only cylindrical tower left standing in Scotland. Oddly, it was also built around 200 years after round towers had ceased to be fashionable. 

The tower was situated at the north-east corner of a fortified yard which would have sheltered livestock and other domestic amenities, but itself, would have provided living accommodation on each floor, accessed mostly likely by the use of a movable staircase. At 11 metres in height, once climbed, the tower also provides spectacular views over the surrounding landscape, though here, the stonework is the real treasure. The last of its kind.

R.

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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

900 Year-Old Details.


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V | Entrance Gate -720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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VI | Fraction – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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VII | Fraction [II] – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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VIII | Fraction [III] – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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[Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm Infrared – PT.I]
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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

On Days Like These.


I. | The Abbey – 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Okay, okay! I have a thing about old buildings and magnificent, ancient stonework. It could be worse. Instead of cameras, I could have a PS or an Xbox (whatever they are – but hear that they are also quite popular?) 

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II. | From an Outer Doorway – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Over the last almost twenty years, I have visited and revisited Dundrennan Abbey on more occasions than I can remember. Mary, Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland, here, before being escorted across the Solway Firth by the English, to Carlisle Castle where she would spend the next nineteen years as a prisoner before being executed, in 1587. Whether for the scenery, the history, or both – I have never tired of shooting here. Two days ago, I visited again and, with my IR converted GR in hand – spent around an hour making a few more frames. The groundsman (Pete) was also on site, fixing the ol’ place up a bit, ready for the spring and summer onslaught of visitors, but mostly, I had perfect ‘alone’-time to wander round and grab a few angles that I had missed over previous visits. Here, I wanted to simply show a few frames of some of Dundrennan’s beautiful arches – in a tad more detail, with each shot.

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III. | Through an Interior Arch – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Shooting in IR under ideal conditions (bright sunshine and few clouds) really does bring out the contrast and utter magnificence of places like this – and I have no doubt that there are more just like this, waiting for me to capture. As spring and summer progress, I know already that I am going to have a very busy season indeed, not just for having so many places to shoot, but in the first instance – being able to visit them and soak up so much atmosphere, history and enjoying too, a complete change of pace. On days like these, there’s truly nothing better. 

R.

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IV. | Zenith – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, structures

The Last of the First | Ricoh GR Infrared.


To say that I love shooting with an IR-converted GR is an understatement. As Drumlanrig has been its initial proving-ground, I know all too well that I will have to return when spring has worked its magic, and the leaves have returned to complete the effect. More than likely, I will also be looking to compare outputs between this wonderful conversion and, my converted X100 – I know already it’ll be a very close call. Furthermore, as the gardens to the house will soon be open again to the public (on my recent visit, the groundsmen were working furiously to prepare them) I feel extremely excited to know that I will have much more time here, to explore again – and yes, shoot to my heart’s content, should conditions be fair. Hopefully, photographically speaking- I will be able to do this place much more justice. I’m not there yet, but my shutter-finger is twitching already at the prospect; and my impatience is becoming increasingly apparent. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy these two frames as much as I have. 

R.

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V | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 250th – f8 – ISO:100

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VI | Lined | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 125th – f7.1 – ISO:100

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Drive-By Shooting, Perhaps? [720nm IR] | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

It’s a Beautiful Thing.


Visually, I am utterly drawn to churches, graveyards, old stone, ancient architecture – moreover, the atmosphere that oozes from an old idea of what structural art could be, and touches the insides; those enduring testaments of purpose combined with design, symbolism and even greatness that entices awe, wonder and even momentary feelings of belonging. It’s not about religion though, at least – not for me. I believe it’s about our instinctive desire as human beings to create, which must be surely born solely from the sense of what we feel most passionately about? Whether it’s created from what we need or, what we most want, it truly is a very beautiful thing to create. Inspiration plays a huge part too and, from what we have seen or known before, a benchmark is set from which we can visualise elements in our own minds that perhaps are unique to each of us. Sometimes though, some designs are so enduring, that very few elements differ nowadays, from even their initial conception, deep in the past. Can you think of a better design for a pair of scissors, perhaps, a paperclip, or – the wheel? While maybe not visually awe-inspiring in the main, these designs endure. 

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IV | Remains [I] | 21mm – 720nm IR.

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V | 21mm – 720nm IR.

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Many of Scotland’s more modern churches, however, whilst conforming to a design ethic, don’t always have the same feel as the more ancient, yet, many are built on the site of far older chapels and these run down structures can illicit the very same emotions and feelings of mystery as their far grander replacements, purely by their own, often more crude yet still clearly purposeful design. Here at Closeburn, though I have driven by so many times over the years, having also made countless reminders to myself while doing so, that I should visit and photograph the church across the fields, I never, ever noticed the old chapel behind it. I had no idea that it was there. 

Naturally, I would prefer a far less cloudy day if I am to make the most of this beautiful place, and perhaps I am jumping the gun just a tad in sharing these particular infrared images, because I absolutely know that I can capture it better than this – in a way that I know is not just a visualisation in my mind, but an achievable reality. Still, I love this secluded spot and my impatience often gets the better of me – and so it has today. I hope you’ll enjoy them. There’s peace here. Roll-on summer, so that I can head back.

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VI | Remains [II] | 21mm – 720nm IR.

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This post is written in salute to the late Sir Simon Marsden – a true pioneer and one of my own personal inspirations in the field of infrared photography. Methods change, but ideas endure. 

R.

[All images: Ricoh GR 720nm IR Conversion]

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Drive-By Shooting, Perhaps? [720nm IR] | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

A Little Bit of Archery.


For over fifteen years, my shutter-finger has been tantalised by this rural church whenever I’ve driven the main road that passes by it, only a quarter of a mile away. Set in front of its beautiful tree-lined backdrop, behind rolling fields, I can’t understand why it’s taken me so long to take that little side-road in order to capture it. Though it’s early in the year and, the overhead conditions remain unpredictable, I spent a lovely hour here – simply investigating and, grabbing some IR frames. I do hope you’ll enjoy this initial instalment and, have a great week ahead. 

R.
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I | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 21mm – 1/100th – f8 – ISO:200

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II | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 28mm – 1/320th – f8 – ISO:100

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III | Closeburn Church | GR-720nm IR | 21mm – 1/125th – f8 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, structures

Pilgrim’s Progress | Ricoh GR Infrared.


III | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 125th – f8 – ISO:100

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IV | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 180th – f8 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, structures

About Turn | Ricoh GR Infrared.


Each of us has the right to change our minds. (That’s my excuse and, I’m sticking to it!) Insosaying, last month, I wrote a post about my newly converted GR – to 450nm, internally. The idea was that I’d be able to choose my preferred wavelengths for split-spectrum or infrared photography, but, things have been simplified rather, thanks to a few unwelcome dust-spots on its sensor. (Every cloud, an’ all that?) I arranged for the sensor to be cleaned and, in the interests of keeping the camera compact (without having to use the filter adapter for mounting an IR filter over the lens) I opted to have the internal 450nm glass removed and replaced with my preferred 720nm glass, instead. This has turned out to be a monumentally productive decision. 

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I | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 180th – f8 – ISO:100

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These two frames are the first that I’m publishing from this new conversion and, after what started out as an uncertain day for IR captures – I have to say that I am utterly blown away by what this GR-720nm can resolve. Compared to my X100 conversion, I definitely see more details in the GRs shadows, though the Fuji does have better overall dynamic range and, controls the highlights a little better. The GRs files do look more organic to me (which is why I have always loved them for black and white work) and, in such compact form, no longer having to use the filter adapter to capture frames like this, it’s ridiculous how little I have to carry in order to get results such as these. Happy? Pahhh… doesn’t even come close!

R.

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II | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR + ND500 | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 8″ – f16 – ISO:100

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Inside Thirlstane Arch | PT.II of II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, personal, photography

Overseeing? | Internal Dialogue.


Eddie Van Halen once answered (while being interviewed for a famous rock magazine in the 80s) a question as to his playing style, most specifically, his soloing techniques. As I recall, he explained that when he constructs solos – he likened it to “falling helplessly down a long staircase but landing on my feet”. The reason I mention this, is because though I imagined this post to just be another few images of what some might see as ‘just another rock’, I have ended up writing… stuff. A ramble, if you like. I just hope that by the end of it, I also land on mine; and though I have little sense of thought-structure right now, the top of the staircase is in full and daunting view and, I am left feeling as though my shoes are on the wrong way round, laces untied.

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IV | 35mm – 720nm Infrared.

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When it comes to a scene, where compositional possibilities are somewhat limited (either by subject, angle, light or, our own abilities) what would be the point in taking  just one or two frames and walking away? If a scene makes me buzz, I hang around – explore it, and keep shooting. Not for the sake of it, though. There’s nothing more tedious than going through the editing process later, and knowing that 75% of my frames are destined for the bin before I’ve even begun looking  at them. Spray and pray? Not my style, at all. So, purposeful engagement with a pleasing subject, loaded with potential compositional snaggery (I don’t believe this is actually a word but, it works for me) can often be beautifully rewarding. Impatience has no place here. Instead, time, exploration, looking, seeing and the changing of shooting techniques (and yes, different wavelengths too) – are all keys to finding a different view of what, on first appearance to the human eye, might have been quite – normal. Unremarkable, even. Like a rock, perhaps.

Without direction, by perhaps explaining just why, what or how I saw or appreciated any given composition, I prefer instead to not influence a pattern of thought in a viewer and allow elements to come to the fore – or not, for that person. As you are reading this too, for you. Should not the very initial dialogue between the image and the seer, be internal? Seeing is a very personal thing, isn’t it? Whether you might (or, not) see what I see, or saw – is of little consequence to me personally and though this probably sounds dismissive, arrogant, cold or selfish, even, this would be as far from the truth of it as the stars must be. The freedom to perceive is the right of one and, the only wish I have is that you’ll enjoy even some of my frames, in whatever ways you see them. When someone, anyone, says to me that something I have seen resonated with them also has to be the biggest compliments I can imagine, and yet, often, I will hear or read words suggesting that something that I didn’t see – did the same thing. And so I keep learning to ‘see’ more effectively. By listening, too, I learn to look. The reason I mention any of this comes from my own internal dialogues of late; the ones that ask me to answer questions – begging answers in explanation as to why I do this in this first place. 

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V | 35mm – VIS.

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Before I attempt to answer my own question(s) I must explain though, as the idea for this particular post seemed to be a natural sequel to my previous, my first few frames from Thirlstane, there were to be no paragraphs, no sentences, no stringing together of words – at all. I figured that all that I wanted to say was already written in PT.I. The introduction and the conclusion. Still, as others have also poignantly written, sometimes the words come when we least expected them to and, other times, we ache to write something, stare at a blank screen and poke our brains for what feels like mini-aeons, and – nothing comes out from the fingertips. Whatever the intention, the reality of creativity seems to seek itself out and, as a conduit for whatever is or isn’t inside us, we do or we just – don’t. I think it’s as simple as that.

Conscious creativity seems to me, the very hardest part of making images. I don’t know if I’m answering my own questions but the nearest I can get to concluding why I shoot, think and continue to explore photography is the simple knowledge that I do not believe I’ve made all that I can make. I haven’t seen my best photograph because I haven’t made it yet. I haven’t explored the full possibilities of what my own limitations will allow me to see and make, with light and shadow. Though I search, sometimes painfully consciously for creativity, it seems to me that when I just relax with it, don’t push myself to make anything happen, instead just capturing what I see, trusting what I do know and being relaxed with variables – even by accident and not even thinking about every single element, I find ridiculous amounts of enjoyment in seeing a moment; and then, feeling the camera in my hand, stealing it.

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VI | 35mm – VIS.

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Not for recognition, not for the struggle or competition, not for anything else except the pure enjoyment, the passion, the constant pre-excitation – for discoveries; and, being able to share it. What is a picture without anyone there to look inside it?  

Perhaps I’ve just landed? Only you know the answer to that one.

R.

[Frames V & VI: X100T | Frame IV: X100 720nm Conversion]
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Inside Thirlstane Arch | PT.I of II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography

On Being Prepared.


Barely a few miles from our county’s popular resort of Southerness is situated the picturesque inlet and beach of Powillimount (pron: po-wil-i-mont). I’d never heard of it (despite having lived around here for almost twenty years). The weather wasn’t great, but the kids (who had been before) wanted to go back and find the ‘cave’, again. Me? I was going because I was promised a delicious fish ‘n’ chips with curry sauce, afterwards. It was a grey day, chilly, with the sun making only fleeting appearances between larger cloud-pockets. Nonetheless, I took cameras for both visible and infrared opportunities – should they have arisen. It’s impossible to know beforehand. I remember, before moving to Scotland, being told that if going out for a whole day in shorts, that I should also take an overcoat; and if it’s raining when heading out, not to forget my Factor 30. It’s kind of true – and I’m grateful for that. On arrival, rather than walk the beach, we headed straight for the ‘cave’, just a few minutes walk away. As it turns out, the ‘cave’ happens to be the Thirlstane; rather  popular for climbers and, clamberers alike – and, photographers, too. Goodie!

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I. | 35mm -VIS.

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While the boys clambered or kicked the football on the beach, hunted for ‘fossils’ or swirled sticks in low-tide rock-pools, A and I sat and took in the view out across the Solway towards a hazy Cumbrian coastline, and the peace (between childish cries of discovery, astonishment, self-congratulation, or any of the frequent, “Watch this!” moments. The whole time, as we chatted, I kept my eyes open, for light; and after the best part of an hour, it arrived. Sliding my backside off a low rock, I took a wander around and, made a few frames. The Arch itself however, was the only part I could consider worthy of photographic appreciation, so, I concentrated here. 

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II. | 35mm – 720nm Infrared.

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Shooting both visible light and at 720nm renders  light so wonderfully differently and though both set-ups have their own characteristics, I will always have a preference for IR for conducive subjects under suitable light, to visible-light. However – on days like this, having a small collection of the same scenes photographed using both bands of wavelengths, lends to the eyes an absolutely gorgeous comparison which I am hopeful (yet, also certain) upon review, of not actually needing to explain.

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III. | 35mm – VIS.

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Getting an exposure balanced just right is tricky when the difference between shade and light is so great, still, I am very happy with these few frames and, I do hope you’ll have enjoyed this first instalment.

R.

[Frames I & III: X100T | Frame II: X100 720nm Conversion]
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Ricoh GR | You Can Call Me – ‘Jack’ | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, colour, full-spectrum, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, night / low-light, personal, photography, review, ruins, structures

Photographic ‘Mechano‘? | A Few More Nuts & Bolts.


Two very special cameras have made up the mainstay of my shooting arsenal over the past eight years; the Fujifilm X100 (the debut, the ‘S’ and, the ‘T’) and, the Ricoh GR (also, the GR II). The model numbers don’t really make much of a difference to me because it’s all about how they allow me to work when I’m making pictures. Furthermore, my joy of them has nothing to do with button layouts, menu-order, online reviews, or much else either. It’s really all about the ability to carry a portable, capable and an ever more familiar set-up that produces very workable digital negatives shot through focal-lengths that I prefer the most. Shooting with shorter focal lengths has been my passion for a good number of years now, ever since I made the decision to give up on larger systems and telephoto lenses. That decision itself came from a notion that being out of range didn’t make me a better photographer at all – it wasn’t brave and, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, instead of immersed in the process. That’s why I ditched the longer lenses. Simple. I wanted to learn more about photography and could no longer find satisfaction from picking-off frames from a distance – no matter how attractive I found focal-plane-to-background separation. The change was swift and, sharp.

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I. | Sir Duncan Rice Library Building – University of Aberdeen.

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After a few years with the Fuji-X I wanted something a little smaller for my pocket, for those days we all hanker for at one time or another – when we can grab the shots without carrying the bag as well; not a replacement as such, but a complement to my existing camera(s). By that time, I was completely hooked on shorter focal-lengths, the immersive experience of making pictures with them and that was when I bit the proverbial bullet on a GR – a camera that has been in my bag or my pocket for almost six years, no matter what else I have been shooting alongside it. Now, you may think that this is going somewhere a little bit too romantic and, you might be right. You see, out of every piece of equipment I have ever shot with over the last twenty-plus years, Ricoh’s GXRs and GRs have been my absolute favourite to use. The GR however, (even for all of the APS-C variants of the GXR) – tops the lot. I have no issue with admitting that the GR is (digitally speaking) the best, most customisable, usable camera with which I have ever made pictures. But the oddity in all of this is that – it just got even better. I’m not talking of anything Ricoh has done to it or, for it. It’s simply that as well as my standard model, I now have another, converted to split-spectrum with an internal 450nm filter. This might not sound like a big deal (especially if you’re more a colour enthusiast or just not a fan of black and white photography) but bear with me, and you’ll see that it actually – is.

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II. | Kinclair Viaduct.

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My first foray into split-spectrum and true full-spectrum happened when I had received a converted A16 unit for my old GXR a few years ago and, with that one unit, I was able to reduce issues of low-light black and white photography and shoot any alternative wavelengths that I chose to – usually near-infrared around the 720nm mark. In truth, my main love for a split-spectrum converted camera lies in the ability for me to choose different IR wavelengths as my base, when shooting, though primarily, I stick to 720nm (give or take around 20-30nm) – as I have done for the last twelve or so years. But it’s lovely to have the latitude when it’s needed. If any of you browsed through my images of St.Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, late last year, you will notice, if you look, the clear benefits of shooting indoors with a split or full-spectrum converted camera as, such a set-up effectively doubles the shutter speed because the amount of wavelengths and subsequently, available light, is also doubled. For this kind of photography, black and white is really the only option (unless you’re into really funky colours and peculiar white-balance) and if you’re happy with this, you’d be even happier at the reduced (or complete absence of) camera / motion blur in your shots, not to mention the huge amounts of extra detail in the blacks and shadows.

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III. | St. Gile’s Cathedral – Edinburgh [Full Spectrum – Handheld].

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Now, a small admission. Originally, when I started drafting this post, my intention was to write some kind or report or, review, about my newest acquisition in the 450nm GR. But as that camera is only half of my story, I have decided to be more – general and, as my title suggests, I do consider the GR to be the most customisable camera I have ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. The mere fact that I now have two of them, both set-up in completely different ways, for alternative shooting requirements, will bear this out. The fact that I have most of the accessories available for them, is also a factor in their importance in much of my work because, by and large, I don’t go in for huge amounts of add-ons for my gear and, prefer to keep weight down instead. But as weight is not really an issue with a camera so compact, I allowed myself to indulge in order to make them as useful as possible, to me. As well as both cameras, one standard and one converted, I also have three GH-3 filter adapters. On one, I have the IR 720nm filter, on another – a C-PL and on the third, a +10 close-up filter for a little extra macro. Having each filter mounted on separate adapters allows me to very quickly swap-out filters between cameras with just a click & twist. Obviously, the R72 filter adapter only gets exchanged with the +10 if I’m going to choose close-up work in IR or split-spectrum, but the C-PL can be swapped out for either of the other two, because as I have discovered, the standard GR set-up is also receptive to IR wavelengths with no hot-spotting, giving the shooting process a natural ND sequence. So, for long exposure IR imagery, the standard GR handles infrared rather well indeed. (I will do my best to show this as artistically as I am able, during the summer). With the addition of the GW-3 wide lens (which is pretty special, I must say) I can add a 21mm repertoire to each set-up at will, with custom functions set for (35mm) crop-mode and conversion-lens use, on each camera; not to mention the ability to set each of the unit’s three custom modes, for different set-ups. The fact that I love the GR’s output is the reason I shoot with it in the first place but, coupled with its mechano-like, Swiss Army-Knife tendencies – I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything for wide shooting, or – much else, for that matter.

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IV. | Bluebell.

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Of late, I have found myself preferring 4:3 output straight from the camera and have noted a benefit to this also, in post. The GR’s lens has a certain amount of natural light fall-off (vignetting) in the corners (especially when shooting at its native 28mm with front-mounted filters) and shooting at 4:3 reduces this somewhat unappealing effect by cropping out the far-lateral sides of the sensor. Added to the fact that 35mm is my preferred focal-length, this internal crop-mode when utilised alongside the 4:3 option, reduces fall-off further, while still providing me with a fairly respectable 9mp RAW file for processing, minus the rather noticeable fall-off. Again, many quick functions are simple and quick to set-up and I also have a ratio option on my adjust lever as well as 28/35mm crop on the effects button at the side of the camera. There’s not really a whole lot more that I can say of the 450nm converted camera, per se – it is what it is and as long as it’s raison d’etre is realised and understood, it’s an extremely useful tool for low-light, indoor photography where crushed blacks aren’t desired but organic detail is. For me – it’s there for IR in the main. But that’s just me. I still need my bag, of course – but even so it weighs next to nothing and, my bases are all covered.

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V. | Church Ruin [720nm Infrared].

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The GR has mostly been heralded as the ideal street camera to have, and I will not argue this. But what has not been extolled, as far as I am able to discover for myself, is that it can do so much more than street-photography; decent macro (with or without external filter assistance), landscape, environmental, urban exploration, and even alternative wavelength, I don’t think there’s much this thing can’t do. I have probably harped on enough now about this camera but I so want anyone who is truly interested, to know just how much a little camera can do in hands attached to a mind that wants to truly explore photographic possibilities.

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VI. | Horse-Chestnut [Sticky] Bud.

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The GR III is soon to be released in the UK (note: this post was published in early March 2019) – and I know right now that I won’t be buying one at any time in the near future. The main reason that I keep my Fujis is because of their handling, their viewfinders and the lovely files that I get to make with them. Insosaying, (because its screen can be rather hard to see in sunlight) if the new GR had been designed and built with a finder (a la pop-up EFV on Sony’s RX100 MK3 and onwards) then I doubt that the X100/IR or the ‘T’ would get much handling. If the GR III is as good as it’s going to get, then I’m sorry Ricoh- you already got it bang-on with the first one – nuts, bolts, the lot. And I’m not moving. I mean, what would be the point?

R.
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Thank you for visiting. If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, 2019) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided.
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